By Tom Southall-CHSCA
It seems appropriate that Kain Medrano was working out in a weight room when first called with news he was being recognized as the boys’ recipient of the 2019 Freddie Steinmark Award. Agility and strength drills have been a staple of Kain’s daily routine since about the 4thgrade. Kain has tried to make the most of every opportunity that has been presented to him and knows that hard work and proper technique can take a performance to the next level. The next level will be a jump from Pueblo’s Dutch Clark Stadium to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, as Kain will play football for the UCLA Bruins this fall.
“I am very appreciative and honored to receive the Steinmark Award and it is exciting to represent the city of Pueblo and Pueblo East High School,” said Kain Medrano. “Sometimes college recruiters forget about towns like Pueblo.” A sign of the times was Kain posting recruiting videos on his Twitter account and catching the eye of college coaches. Attending local summer camps also helped him rise through the ranks of potential recruits.
Backing up all the social media hype and camp drills with outstanding on-the-field performance is still the best way to impress coaches, and Kain’s performance for the Pueblo East Eagles was what made him stand out. Three appearances in the 3A state football title game and a basketball final four appearance showcased Kain’s athletic ability. As a track and field performer, Kain was at the top of the podium multiple times as part of a hungry Pueblo East squad that was a close 2nd-place finisher at the 2019 state track meet.
In his nomination letter, Kain Medrano wrote that he was thankful for the guidance and support of his coaches, teachers, and family. His teammates “have become like brothers, they celebrate victories with me and help me through the losses. They push me to be the best version of myself every day.”
Kain’s hard work helped him rise to the top as an All-State wide receiver and an All-State defensive stopper in basketball. In track and field, Kain displayed a unique combination of speed and power by being a two-time state champion in the discus, state champion in the shot put, and the leadoff leg for the Eagles’ state championship 4x100m and 4x200m relays in 2019. Kain’s emphasis on discus technique led him to the top discus throw in the state of Colorado (199’ 9”) and a new class 4A state record in 2019. This throw was the 6thfarthest in the country this year and ranks in the top 10 all-time in Colorado prep history.
Kain Medrano is the 50thwinner of the Steinmark Award since it was established in 1972 (there were two winners in 1976 and 1979) and he is certainly deserving. He becomes the first boys’ recipient of the Steinmark Award from the city of Pueblo, and joins legendary Pueblo Centennial athlete, Anne Vento, as outstanding representatives of the Steel City. Anne Vento was the first girls’ Steinmark Award recipient in 1974.
The Steinmark Award was established in 1972 and honors Freddie Steinmark, who excelled in football, basketball, and baseball while attending Wheat Ridge High School in the 1960s. He was also an outstanding student and active in several school and community-oriented endeavors before attending the University of Texas, where he helped the Longhorns to the national football title in 1969. Freddie died from cancer in 1971 at the age of 22. Students athletes nominated for the award must be seniors who have maintained a GPA of at least 3.0 and participated in at least two varsity sports, having earned at least All-Conference in one sport and All-State in another.
Kain is very cognizant of the role he can play in his community and how important positive role models can be for the next generation of student athletes. “I remember looking up to the older (Pueblo) East Eagles when I was small, thinking I want to be just like them when I get to high school. In our community there are many kids who don’t have a positive male influence in their life, and I know that it is my responsibility to pay it forward.” Paying it forward by looking at his past has led Kain to volunteer with the La Gente Youth Sports organization in Pueblo. Growing through the ranks as a participant in this organization and now as a coach and official gives Kain the perspective to share with Pueblo’s youth how important it is to “keep your nose down, work hard, and be respectful to those you come in contact with.”
Zachary Valdez, Executive Director of La Gente Youth Sports, Inc., wrote that “Kain is known for his commitment and contribution to the community…and exhibits exceptional leadership qualities to underserved, at-risk kids in need of opportunity” in the Pueblo area. Kain sets the example in the classroom as well, as he graduated with a 4.0 GPA and plans to major in Exercise and Sports Science with the goal of becoming a physical therapist.
The CHSCA Freddie Steinmark Award trophies will be presented to the Steinmark winners, June 7, 2019 as part of the CHSCA All-State Games hosted by Adams State University in Alamosa. Kain will be joined by Kit Carson’s Tess Hornung, who will receive the girls’ Steinmark Award.
Dave Logan of Wheat Ridge High School, and now the extremely well-known sports announcer for the Denver Broncos and other sports endeavors, was the first winner of the award in 1972.
Last year, Ryan Marquez of Pomona received the boys’ Steinmark and Soleil Gaylord of Telluride was the recipient for the girls.
Other nominees: Bennie Chacon, Centauri HS; Juan Doyle, Salida HS; Ty Garnhart, Eaton; Isaac Harris, Sterling HS; Barrett Miller, Eaglecrest HS; Braden Witzel, Burlington HS; and Cobi Wood, Grandview HS.